The Ontario government is expanding much-needed culturally responsive programs to support the educational needs and outcomes of Arabic-speaking refugee and newcomer children and youth as they integrate into the Ontario education system.
In addition, these new investments will help newcomers combat racism and hate when it’s encountered in the school community, expand their ability to build connections with their school communities in a post-pandemic environment and help parents/families support their child by increasing their confidence and mental health.
Joined by Sheref Sabawy, MPP for Mississauga-Erin Mills, Stephen Lecce, Minister of Education announced:
▪ $142,387 to Anba Abraam Charity to create customized and culturally responsive English as a Second Language (ESL) lessons and programming that support the educational needs and outcomes of Arabic-speaking refugee and newcomer children and youth in Grades 6 to 11 in the Peel Region. These materials will also promote positive
social interactions to support student well-being.
▪ $104,500 to the Canadian Egyptian Heritage Association (CEHA) to design and deliver workshops and web-based materials to support newcomer children/youth in Grades 7 to 10 and their parents/guardians living in the Greater Toronto Area on how to combat
racism and hate in schools.
These investments are part of the government’s Priorities and Partnerships Funding (PPF) which target investments that prioritize the success of our students in the classroom and beyond. This partnership with innovative Ontario-based organizations helps improve language skills and directly support students through their education.
We are taking action to support the many Arabic-speaking refugees and newcomer children who face difficulty learning a new language and to ensure they overcome discrimination within our schools and communities,” said Stephen Lecce, Minister of Education. “By expanding language programs and combating racism head-on, we are breaking down barriers to ensure all students — including those new to our country — succeed in the classroom and graduate with confidence that they can get a good paying job here in Ontario.”
“Today, our government is committing to support young Arabic-speaking newcomers integrate into Canadian society by providing them with culturally-specific educational programs,” said Sheref Sabawy, MPP for Mississauga-Erin Mills. “These partnerships between our government and local community organizations will make a tremendous difference in the lives of immigrant families. Our government will stop at nothing to ensure that all Ontario residents, especially our youth, have opportunities for success.”
“Our government is committed to ensuring that everyone can prosper in our province and feel a sense of belonging, including students making a new start in Ontario,” said Parm Gill, Minister of Citizenship and Multiculturalism, responsible for the Anti-Racism Directorate.
“Young people are our future, so we are actively working to remove any barriers in their way and end all forms of racism, discrimination, and hate so they can reach their full potential.
Together, we will make Ontario a safer, more inclusive place to be.”
“I am happy to hear that our government is supporting newcomers and expanding cultural educational programs for Arabic-speaking children and youth” Nina Tangri, MPP for Mississauga-Streetsville said. “This investment will support the educational needs of Arabic-speaking children & youth, and allow them to better integrate into the Ontario education system. Moreover, this new investment will also help newcomers combat racism and hate in schools and help parents/families support their child.”
These investments are part of a broader provincial plan to combat hate and build safer and more inclusive communities through prevention and public awareness initiatives. Ontario has invested in several other initiatives to address systemic racism, hate, and discrimination
▪ Directing $6.4 million toward equity-related projects as part of the Safe Return to Class Fund
▪ Investing $800,000 annually in One Vision, One Voice, a community-led initiative with a focus on anti-Black racism.
Responding to a question from Media in Toronto regarding how this type of grant can foster newcomers? Minister Lecce said: “We want to support everyone who comes to Canada. The focus is different. This particular program is English focus, but it can be for French. We simply have one mission, which is to support and integrate immigrants and newcomers from across Egypt and the entire Arabic-speaking world. To help them get a good education. Get a job and retire with dignity. That is our mission for them. And this early investment will strengthen the language capability so that they can go out to the job market and get a good job. We want them to succeed. We want them to come here and feel part of the Canadian family and the first step is to be able to speak to each other. That’s why this investment working with Sharif Sabawy, we, under his leadership is delivering this for all families who needed appeal and across the GTA,”
“We’ve expanded support for the Asian community, the black community, Muslim, Jewish, various Christian communities. I mean, we are trying to help everyone succeed in our government, under Doug Ford, our premier, we respect our diversity and our differences. We want to celebrate them in the classroom. So giving these young kids hope, and the tools and opportunity to succeed is at its core, a Canadian you know, conviction. So I think the Arabic-speaking community, the Coptic and Egyptian community for just being such wonderful examples of the success of the immigration story, I’m Italian. I have a great similarity in our experiences with many of my Egyptian brothers. And sisters. You know, we love our family, our faith, and we’re proud of our country. Absolutely. So let’s build upon it and that’s what this investment is going to do,” he added.